The Pleasure of Teaching English to Adults in Vietnam


By: Meredith Clarke

I’ve never particularly liked kids. I’ve never babysat a day in my life. I have no younger siblings. Even growing up, most of my friends were at least a year or two older than me. I get along well with the occasional child at a wedding or family function, but more than one at a time and I start to feel overwhelmed.

A Survival Guide to Moving Abroad to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, also known as Saigon, will forever be one of my favorite places. It was a bit of a slow burn type of love on my end, and it did take awhile to acclimate myself with its culture and my surroundings, though. First off, the neighborhoods in Saigon are sprawling throughout the general region, which I found pretty shocking. There are 24 districts in total; seven of them are considered urban, seven others are numbered and the other five are considered the suburbs. This city is insanely massive, which I’m not sure many people know about.

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Vietnam to Teach English

By Laura Nalin

Moving abroad tends to be a bit unnerving at times as most of us embarking on the adventure are often weary of the “other side.” While Vietnam isn’t as scary as some of my elder family members conjectured, I’ll admit that it does feel like a different world, particularly in the beginning. Here are a few things I wish I knew when I first moved here, that I know now.

A Typical Weekend for an ESL Teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

I’m not really sure it’s possible for me to sum up a typical weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as such a thing doesn’t really exist; I’ll give it a go, anyhow. For starters, I have a pretty sweet gig and do not have to work on the weekends. I consider myself quite lucky as weekends are the busiest days for most teachers here in Saigon. With that said, there are generally a few things that I tend to do on a routinely basis. During my first year in the city, I tried to see as many of the tourist attractions as I could; now I either treat the weekends just the same as I would back in the states or travel to a nearby town if I’m up for it.

How to Get Around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

A few years ago I almost didn’t consider moving to Southeast Asia purely out of fear that I wouldn’t know how to get around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was pretty dead set on relocating to Taiwan as there was a guaranteed, well-connected public transportation system in place. However, the pull of Vietnam was too strong and so I decided to fearlessly take the hectic city head-on. The main reason I was skeptical about moving to Saigon is because of a motorbike accident I’d gotten into in 2014 in a small northern town called Mai Chau.

But I Don't Speak Vietnamese! Teaching English in Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

A standout memory for me during my in-person Chicago TEFL class at ITA was watching how dedicated one of my course mates was to learning the Korean language. Here I was, completely unsure of where I even wanted to teach, and this guy was aggressively studying in the best way possible. He had his mind set on learning Hangul, and impressively, is now fluent in the language and still living in South Korea. 

My 5 Favorite Spots in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

When most people think of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I think what often comes to mind are the typical tourist attractions and Bui Vien street. Most tourists don’t really make it a point to travel outside of the central District 1 - which is fine - but they’re missing out on what the city really has to offer. This city is not always the warmest to those who trek through it right off the bat; I’d like to think of it as a slow burn type of love. Once you crack through the barriers and start to get to the city a bit better, you’ll find she’s truly got a lot of soul.

Tips to Overcome Culture Shock While Teaching English in Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

Overcoming culture shock in Vietnam wasn’t the easiest task for me. There are certainly days where Ho Chi Minh City feels like the Wild Wild West. Men and children are often urinating on the side of the road, I see animals - living and dead - tied to the backs of motorbikes en route to slaughter on a daily basis and my entire neighborhood loves singing karaoke at the loudest possible volume at all hours of the night. It’s honestly not the easiest place to live, but I love it.

Mobile Apps You Need to Download to Live in Vietnam

By Laura Nalin

Ever noticed how the first thing you do each morning is most likely check your phone? Our global society is quite literally reliant on technology whether we like it or not. With this notion in mind, one of the reasons I love teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is the fact the locals keep us expats in mind regarding just about everything - including mobile app usage.